Market Reports/Tariffs
Textiles, Apparel, Footwear and Travel Goods

Kuwait

Import Tariffs
Documentation/Procedures
Restrictions
Standards
Labeling
Intellectual Property Rights
Market Information

Last updated on 12/12/2012

If you have any questions about the following information, please contact Pamela Kirkland at the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Textiles and Apparel at 202-482-4058 or click here for e-mail access.

**The following information is provided only as a guide and should be confirmed with the proper authorities before embarking on any export activities.**


Import Tariffs - Kuwait
Kuwait is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which consists of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, and confers special trade and investment privileges within those countries. As a member of the GCC, Kuwait implemented the Unified Customs Law (ULC) in 2003 to facilitate regional trade. In accordance with the ULC, Kuwait imposes a five-percent tariff on the c.i.f. (cost, insurance, and freight) invoice value of most imported products, including textile, apparel, footwear and travel goods products.

For more detailed tariff information, see the Current Situation of Schedules of Members on the World Trade Organization website or the Unified Customs Tariffe for GCC States 2012.

Samples/Temporary Entry--Commercial samples worth up to KD 5,000 may be brought in temporarily. Goods imported for trade shows or exhibitions may be entered via a temporary import bond. However, temporary import bonds can be very expensive to secure and many exhibitors have found it less costly to simply pay the five percent tariff, even for goods that will be re-exported.

For information on how to determine tariff rates, see the Export.gov webpage on Tariffs and Import Fees.

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Import Documentation/Procedures (Kuwait)

For certain goods, importers require special permission from competent agencies, in addition to the “general” import licence from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry - MCI. Made up fishing nets of man-made textiles require special permission from the Public Authority of Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources - PAAF.

Certificate of Disinfection--A certificate of disinfection or sterilization must accompany shipments of used clothing intended for sale.

For more information on local customs rules and regulations:
Kuwait General Administration of Customs - KGAC

For information on common export documents, such as transportation documents, export compliance documents, certificates of origin, certificates for shipments of specific goods, temporary shipment documents, and other export-related documents, see the Export.gov webpage on Common Export Documents.

For more information on import procedures and documentation requirements, see the Country Commercial Guides (CCG) in the U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Library (enter your country of interest in the "country" field, and enter "Country Commercial Guide (CCG)" in the "Report Type" field. Some market research reports are available only to U.S. companies and U.S. students/researchers that are registered with Export.gov.

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Import Restrictions (Kuwait)
To protect local morals, importation of pigskin products (such as handbags, wallets and shoes) are prohibited.

U.S. Export Restrictions:

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in the U.S. Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions against targeted foreign countries, terrorists, and international narcotics traffickers and their agents in accordance with U.S. foreign policy and national security goals. The OFAC website includes summaries of sanctions programs for various countries and the “Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons” (SDNs) list of entities and individuals with whom U.S. persons may not conduct business and whose property must be blocked if under the control of a U.S. person.

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) in the U.S. Department of Commerce is responsible for implementing and enforcing the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), which regulate the export and re-export of most commercial items. BIS maintains the Denied Persons List, which consists of individuals, and companies that have been denied export and re-export privileges by BIS, and the Entity List, which consists of foreign end users who pose an unacceptable risk of diverting U.S. exports and the technology they contain to alternate destinations for the development of weapons of mass destruction

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Standards - Kuwait
All imports, as well as locally made items, must comply with Kuwaiti standard specifications (KSS). If there is no KSS for a particular product then Gulf standard specifications (GSS), a set of common standards being devised under the GCC's Unified Economic Agreement, applies. If no suitable KSS or GSS exists, the product must adhere to international standards.

Standards in Kuwait are governed by the Standards and Metrology Department of the Public Authority for Industry - PAI.

Local standards organization and other resources:
Standards and Metrology Department of the Public Authority for Industry - PAI

GCC Standardization Organization

The National Center for Standards and Certification Information (NCSCI) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. Department of Commerce provides information on U.S. and foreign standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures for non-agricultural products. NCSCI staff responds to requests for information by identifying relevant standards and regulations, and by referral to the appropriate standards-developers or private-sector organizations. Under copyright restrictions, NCSCI cannot provide copies of standards, but NCSCI does provide sources for accessing standards.

U.S. companies can register for the Notify U.S. service to learn about and comment on proposed changes to foreign standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures that may affect U.S. access to global markets.

Additional resources:

Examples of voluntary formaldehyde labeling programs

American Apparel and Footwear Association's Restricted Substances List

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)


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Labeling - Kuwait
Labels must in Arabic/English or Arabic only. Reportedly, Arabic stickers are accepted. All goods imported into Kuwait must be clearly marked with the country of origin.

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Intellectual Property Rights - Kuwait
Registration of trademarks may be applied for at the Register of Trademarks.

Kuwait has national patent legislation, and a national patent office. Currently, dual protection is allowed, i.e., applying for both national and GCC patents for the same invention. A GCC Patent Office was set up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. To apply for a national patent in Kuwait, an inventor must register with the Patents Office at the Trademark and Patent Department of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry - MCI. Non-Kuwaiti citizens, companies, and other juristic personalities may register patents in Kuwait if they are nationals or residents of countries that offer Kuwait reciprocity, such as WTO Members.

Parallel import of copyright protected goods is not addressed in the current Copyright Law. The authorities state that parallel imports are allowed in respect of trademarks, but not in respect of patents and industrial designs.

GCC Patent Office

For information on protecting your trademarks, patents and copyrights:

Export.gov --Protecting Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Abroad

StopFakes.gov


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Market Information - Kuwait

For direct support of U.S. interests in Kuwait, contact any of the Commercial Specialists located at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait.

Export.Gov Middle East webpage

Government Procurement-- See Global Procurement Opportunities for U.S. exporters.

The Central Tenders Committee - CTC, under the jurisdiction of the Council of Ministers, oversees public tenders on behalf of most government ministries. Kuwaiti suppliers, or non-Kuwaiti suppliers with a Kuwaiti partner or agent may submit tenders. Suppliers must register with the CTC, the Kuwait Commercial Registry, and the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce.

Kuwait's procurement regime allows for a price preference of 10% for local products and 5% for GCC products. Also, an offset program requires foreign firms that win government contracts above certain thresholds to make an investment that will add value to the Kuwaiti economy.

Procurement announcements can be found on the CTC website, and are published weekly in an Arabic official gazette (Al Kuwait Al-Youm). An English translation of the gazette is available for subscription from a licensed vendor (Al-Abraj Translation & Publishing Co.).

Foreign companies cannot sell directly to the government nor participate in public tenders except through a local agent.

U.S. companies may contact the U.S. Commercial Service for information and personalized counseling at every step of the exporting process. Find a U.S. Export Assistance Centers near you or contact an international office.

Other sources for market information and data:
OTEXA Export Market Report (U.S. export data for textiles, apparel, footwear and travel goods)

Export.gov Trade Data & Analysis webpage

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service

U.S. Department of State - U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Missions and
U.S. Department of State Country Background Notes

U.S. Office of the Trade Representative

Local Industry and Trade Associations

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Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA)
U.S. Department of Commerce
Washington, DC 20230
Phone: (202) 482-5078  |  Fax: (202) 482-2331
OTEXA@trade.gov